If you've been online recently, you've probably seen this. This is one of two clips released by the Department of Defense. Both videos show a thermal image of an unidentified flying object. The videos have been widely shared and scrutinized. A lot of people think this is the first real evidence that extraterrestrials exist, and that they've visited us here on Earth.
There's just one thing. Most people in the scientific community don't think these videos prove anything.
People have been claiming to see UFOs for decades. Countless videos purporting to show alien aircraft have been popping up since the invention of film. But this video is unique. It was released by the Department of Defense who found the video noteworthy enough to study and release.
Until 2012, the DOD says it ran a secret "Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program." The program was funded by $22 million dollars worth of "black money." These are funds the Pentagon sets aside for classified programs.
Cmdr. David Fravor: "Both of us, both airplanes see a disturbance in the water and a white, 40-foot-long Tic Tac-shaped object."
This is Cmdr. David Fravor. He was one of the Navy pilots that spotted the UFO.
Cmdr. David Fravor: "I get over to the 8 o'clock position, it's at about the 2 o'clock position, and I decide I'm gonna go see what it is and it's about 200 feet below me. And I cut across the circle and as I get about a half mile of it, it rapidly accelerates to the south in about two seconds and disappears."
All this seems pretty incredible, so why don't scientists care?
Caleb Scharf: "I think it's very, very difficult as a scientist to look at something like this and say anything except, you know, it's intriguing. But I would need a vast amount more documentation and context to really understand what's going on here."
Caleb Scharf is an astronomer and director of the multidisciplinary Columbia Astrobiology Center.
Caleb Scharf: "The difficulty with this kind of problem is that you can't plan for it."
Carolin Frueh: "Yeah, because I think that's exactly, one cannot tell much from the video."
That’s Carolin Frueh, she's an assistant professor at Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Carolin Frueh: "Yeah, I would like to know what the wind was ... was there turbulence?
What they're talking about, is the scientific method. Basically, before scientists will accept something as fact, a lot of research and testing has to be done. And it all has to take place in a controlled environment.
Caleb Scharf: "You can't plan for it. You can't really set up a thorough, proper scientific experiment. It's all reliant on serendipitous data. And that's one of the most difficult kinds of problems to solve in science. So I'm not surprised that we don't have a good answer yet."
Caleb Scharf: "I suspect pilots across the decades have seen all sorts of interesting stuff out of their window. But again, jumping to saying what you're seeing could be some advanced technological spacecraft. That's a really big leap to make."
But these videos were released by the US government. There has to be some significance ... right?
Caleb Scharf: "I suppose there's a spirit of openness about it, if you don't know what you're looking at, then throw it out to the world and say "Look this is what we've got. You can interpret it in a variety of different ways."
If we're using the scientific method, hard evidence and a cacophony of data are the best metrics for explaining this phenomenon. But what if you did see it for yourself? Would you still need an experiment to explain it?
Cmdr. David Fravor: "I believe, as do other folks that were on the flight who visually saw it, that it was not from this world."
The Cmdr. is not alone. The videos continue to be scrutinized by a lot of people who agree this is an alien aircraft.
As for the DOD, other than releasing the video, they haven't said much. Presumably, they have access to more data from the flight, and from reports made immediately after the encounter. Releasing more info could begin to answer to scientists' questions. But ultimately, even that might not be enough.
Caleb Scharf: "On the one hand, I could be really cynical about all of this but I think it's really wonderful that people are intrigued by phenomena that they see out in the world. That's a good thing. That's a positive thing, our curiosity is a positive thing. And to be honest, if there are strange things floating around up there, I'd like to know what they are. The difficulty with this kind of problem is that you can't plan for it."
Tech Insider tells you all you need to know about tech: gadgets, how-to's, gaming, science, digital culture, and more.
Subscribe to our channel and visit us at: http://www.businessinsider.com/sai
TI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techinsider
TI on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tech_insider/
TI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/techinsider